Old 11-06-2017, 06:58 PM   #1
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Default best usb audio interface for REAPER?

Not for me - I have an RME that I love

This is for my kid - so nothing fancy but WORKS so *I* don't have to spend time playing IT troubleshooter.

2 channels - plays keyboard so midi (although have a separate midi interface so not really necessary), vst, stuff. Do I have to worry about latency as much as I do with guitar and effects (what I do) vst keyboard and VST? Headphones out, etc.

Steinberg UR22MKI?
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6? (on the expensive side)
Focusrite??
MAudio?
Tascam?
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:26 PM   #2
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I have a Steinberg UR-22, works great. All I do is midi, so not sure it has all features you need, but I have been using it for 3.5 years with no issues.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:27 PM   #3
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I have an RME too...

And the Scarlett series from Focusrite seems to be good products for the money...
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:24 PM   #4
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Behringer umc 202 is an amazing bargain at $59 - sounds better than the other units on your list as well.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
Behringer umc 202 is an amazing bargain at $59 - sounds better than the other units on your list as well.
Are you sure about that?

https://forum.cockos.com/showpost.ph...2&postcount=39

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky5p View Post
TheWhistler,

Most likely, your problem was fixed by behringer's latest driver (v3.29.0). Back in September 2015, I tried 4 USB interfaces, among which, a UMC204HD and a UMC404 (the others were Tascam US2x2 and Zoom's UAC-2) Both UMCs had the same behavior; clean sound for a while, then interrupted by a short gap/silence, and this independently of buffer size, driver version (tried all of the available ones), USB protocol (2 or 3) and PCs (tried on 3 different PCs; same issue) So I returned both UMCs back to the store. This latest driver must have fixed the issue. I noticed it's a universal driver for all UMC audio interfaces. This fix is great news for all UMCs owners

Aside from that issue, the UMCs had good sound but I would hardly call them "great" audio interfaces. Both had much more noise and distortion than either the US2x2 or UAC-2 and while their round-trip latency was "low", it was no where near as low as Zoom's UAC-2, but more worrisome is that the UMC driver "reports" artificially low latency results which can "throw-off" any DAW's Plugin Delay Compensation mechanism(PDC), which in turn may produce "misaligned" tracks when tracking (unless you "offset" for it by the proper amount in your DAW). This is caused by the UMC driver which has a relatively large "hidden" buffer that add ~3ms to whatever you see in your DAW, so the REAL latency is always more than what's shown in your DAW, but if you use a round-trip latency test utility like Centrance you'll see the UMCs true latency (look at screen caps below). Note that these results are based on the old drivers and it is possible that the latest drivers from Behringer have fixed this "false" latency reporting. However, since I don't have the UMCs anymore, I cannot confirm/deny this, but it is easy to verify yourself by using the Centrance utility:

https://centrance.com/downloads/ltu/

FWIW, if you like the "low" latency of your UMC404HD, you'd LOVE the "amazingly low" latency of the UAC-2 (less than half of the UMC404!). However, the UAC-2 is relatively much more expensive than the UMC404HD(~250$ vs 100$), and more importantly, if you're happy with your UMC404, it's all that really matters

Test results of 5 audio interfaces below (UA-1G is Roland's. It's a 1st gen USB 1.1 audio interface):



Below: Latency results of UMC-204HD (same driver/performance as UMC404) at 48Khz and buffer-size of 64 samples (lowest size available). Notice Reaper showing ~2.3/2.3ms (~4.6ms total) which IF was accurate, would be VERY good, vs real latency of 7.73ms as measured by Centrance, so about 3ms of "hidden buffers". Still, 7.7ms is unnoticeable by most people. Only e-drummers would notice that kind of latency and they would prefer <5ms.



Below: Latency results of UAC-2 at 48Khz and buffer-size of 24 samples (lowest size available) as measured by Centrance. Since the UAC-2 driver doesn't have any "hidden" buffers, Reaper is showing ~0.5/2.8ms (~3.3ms total), which is the same result as Centrance (3.35ms) so in this case, the Zoom has ~4.3ms less latency than the UMC! Also, the UAC-2 can operate at much higher sample-rate (i.e. 96k, 192k) and still use low buffer-size (32spl) with "extremely" low resulting round-trip latencies (2.2ms and 1.2ms respectively) as long as your projects are not too complex (a few VSTs).


Note that the UAC-2 is far from perfect. It has ground-loop problems, it's input jacks are WAY too tight (you need to use insane amount of force to plugin a 1/4in cable) but by far it's biggest issue is a "bump" of ~+0.5db in frequency response around 450hz that will "color" anything going through it. Although 0.5db doesn't seem much, in 2016, where < +/- 0.1db is common, IMO it's totally unacceptable. Even more so since most people can hear > 0.3db of coloration, therefore 0.5db is clearly detectable. So I would never use the UAC series as a "reference" converter (the UAC-8 has the same issue). However, this bump doesn't affect the inputs, only the outputs. So if you use the UAC-2 to track guitars, vocals, etc, it wont affects the recordings nor the renderings, only what you are monitoring so you can always use Reapers's monitor FX with ReaEQ to offset this playback bump. Look at the chart below. The UAC-2 is in pink:


If you want similar low-latency performance with even better specs all-around than the UAC-2, (lower noise, no freq bump) you would need to go with RME's BabyFace-PRO interface. However, it is MUCH more expensive than the UAC-2 (~3x more) IMO, within its limitations, currently the UAC-2 represent the best-bang-for-your-buck and it is a Low-Latency Monster

Hope this helps,

Chuck
These figures are for the 204 and 404, but I imagine they would be basically the same as the 202.
Seems pretty noisy. Latency performance is mid range-ish.

Still, for that sort of money, can be useful in many situations.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:43 PM   #6
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I have an RME Fireface 800 that I have so far used for 12 years. Best piece of music hardware I have bought. So in case of replacement with a USB interface, I would no doubt buy RME again.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:44 PM   #7
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Especially for playing Keyboards I vote for the NI Audio6, as it comes with a driver that provides very low latency - at least in Windows (never used a Mac). I use it very happily.

The Behringer drivers are said to introduce too much latency for "realtime" Midi -> audio usage.

Downside: If (s)he once wants to record multiple audio channels, AFAIK, there is no way to aggregate multiple Audio6.

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Old 11-07-2017, 12:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumphil View Post
I wish more gear reviews on the internet were this detailed. This is seriously impressive(and rather flattering for my 2x2).
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Old 11-07-2017, 02:49 AM   #9
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This any help?
http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/...of-2016-645344
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by zeekat View Post
I wish more gear reviews on the internet were this detailed. This is seriously impressive(and rather flattering for my 2x2).
The sad bit is that all you need to provide that detail is a round trip latency testing utility (FREE), and a copy of Right Mark Audio Analyzer (FREE if you aren't making money from it's use, and a reasonable fee if you are).

Why the fuck isn't that the norm rather than the exception???? I can do that at home with any audio interface I can get my hands on in a few minutes!


In not much more time I could also use DAW Bench to see how much load I could put on a given system at a given latency figure... I'm not sure how much is down to incompetence, how much is down to laziness, and how much is down to commercial pressures from companies who will spend money on advertising, but it has to be some combination of those things.


"Oh but there is such a large number of combinations of computer hardware you could have, so no no reasonable comparison is possible..."

Bullshit. The results I could gets with a few generations of computers I have here could provide a highly representative view of how things perform. But apparently that's too much effort.

Instead we have people talking about "high frequency clarity", and "solid low end", when comparing converters that are all well beyond the threshold of transparency, and far beyond the capabilities of the amps and speakers they are listening through. Never mind the limitations of human perception.

Last edited by drumphil; 11-07-2017 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 11-07-2017, 05:57 AM   #11
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wow - woke up and a lot of responses / info to go through.

It seems latency is my #1 - I doubt he's going to notice super low noise and/or fancy "soundstage" qualities.

Most of the "reviews" are nothing more than marketing - really bad. I'll look through the great post drumpil referencing chucky5p post.

Is latency the same issue on keys as guitar? I *really* notice high latency on guitar but it has to [in -> A/D -> process D/A -> out] vs [in -> (digital) -> process -> D/A -> out] so I would think it's "easier" for the hardware???

I just know until I got my RME it was a big problem (guitar).
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:14 AM   #12
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Ok -

* Zoom UAC-2 $249
* Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 $229
* Steinberg UR22MKII $129
* BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC204HD $79

RME is too $$, UR22 looks good price wise but not a lot of info on latency. NI looks sexy, hear reports that latency is good... and the Zoom sounds like good latency, but some issues.

Still - would like a ~$100 interface but not sure I can get there? Anyone use one for keyboards etc and have latency reports? NI - what's your latency? What latency do I *need* for keyboards??? Maybe the Behringer would be ok for a "first" interface to try for him?

Like I said - he's not going to notice a lot, but is has to "work". Anything would be better than motherboard ASIO4ALL he's currently using.
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCipher View Post
Ok -
Still - would like a ~$100 interface but not sure I can get there? Anyone use one for keyboards etc and have latency reports? NI - what's your latency? What latency do I *need* for keyboards??? Maybe the Behringer would be ok for a "first" interface to try for him?
Whether or not latency is a problem differs greatly for each instrument. Keyboards are generally not very concerned with latency, so I wouldn't worry. Vocals and drums will benefit way more for instance. For more info I recommend this article: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...io-interface#7
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Old 11-07-2017, 01:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LCipher View Post
Ok -

* Zoom UAC-2 $249
* Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 $229
* Steinberg UR22MKII $129
* BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC204HD $79
Also look at Roland. They consistently get great user feedback.
They have a brand new line called Rubix, which is the successor to their excellent Capture line.
Review of the Rubix 22 (tested with REAPER)

2 input 192kHz channels at 2.8ms/2.7ms latency at 43:30 of the video

Behringer U-Phoria UMC22
44.1kHz at 2.1ms/2.1ms latency

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Old 11-07-2017, 08:44 PM   #15
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I have an RME ufx on one system and on board sound on another .
i5 6200 dell desktop win7 8gb.

There is not much difference except if doing audio, mic or guitar recordings...
I can happily mix with the on board sound card as long as the track count is lowish .recording Midi is also fine .

perhaps spend nothing ...asio4all is your savior here.

you can also get usb guitar interfaces that work with waspi(native windows ) and perform very well for 20 bucks or so ..
way too much hype out there for no really good reason ...but I do love my rme ..but its really just love .
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by lolilol1975 View Post
Also look at Roland. They consistently get great user feedback.
They have a brand new line called Rubix, which is the successor to their excellent Capture line.
Review of the Rubix 22 (tested with REAPER)

2 input 192kHz channels at 2.8ms/2.7ms latency at 43:30 of the video
Well, you can basically multiply that by 4 to get your latency at 44.1Khz at the same buffer size. Unless you want to use 4 times as much cpu running at 192k all the time to achieve that latency figure. We're also assuming that the drivers are reporting the latency accurately in the first place. The chances of this figure being accurate are better with Roland than Behringer, but until you actually test you never know for sure.

The unit may be capable of running at smaller buffer sizes to keep the latency down at lower sample rates, but there is no way of knowing from that video.

Quote:
Behringer U-Phoria UMC22
44.1kHz at 2.1ms/2.1ms latency
Asio4all doesn't report converter latency or any other buffers beyond the asio buffer size, so you can't just go by the figure stated in the top right corner of reaper. You actually have to use a round trip latency testing utility to find out what your latency really is.

Whats more, as we can see from the testing by chucky5p that I posted, the actual official behringer drivers understate the latency by 3ms.

A combined one and a half hours of video about the interfaces, and still not one loopback audio fidelity or round trip latency test in sight!

Last edited by drumphil; 11-07-2017 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by LCipher View Post
Ok -

* Zoom UAC-2 $249
* Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 $229
* Steinberg UR22MKII $129
* BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC204HD $79

RME is too $$, UR22 looks good price wise but not a lot of info on latency. NI looks sexy, hear reports that latency is good... and the Zoom sounds like good latency, but some issues.

Still - would like a ~$100 interface but not sure I can get there? Anyone use one for keyboards etc and have latency reports? NI - what's your latency? What latency do I *need* for keyboards??? Maybe the Behringer would be ok for a "first" interface to try for him?

Like I said - he's not going to notice a lot, but is has to "work". Anything would be better than motherboard ASIO4ALL he's currently using.
I had one of these ultra cheep Behringer UCA202 interfaces,

https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UCA.../dp/B000KW2YEI

that I used with a netbook and Reaper to record my band live. When I quit playing live, I gave it to my son, who still uses it with a nice 88 key hammer action keyboard to play sampled piano in Reaper on his desktop machine.

IIRC, that unit won't go more than 16 bit audio (whaddaya expect for $29), but the latency was plenty low enough to play and record softsynths, and the 16 bit audio actually sounded pretty damn good in the live stereo recordings I made with it. I'm sure the specs aren't superb, but stellar specs isn't the point. I used it with Windows 7 on a Celeron based netbook, and my kid now uses it on a pretty powerful AMD gaming box with Windows 7 and Arch Linux.
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Old 11-07-2017, 11:56 PM   #18
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perhaps spend nothing ...asio4all is your savior here.
Good advice. Asio4all with on board realtek sound can provide very decent latency. You've already got a usb interface, and if you didn't usb midi interfaces are around $10 these days, and they work just fine.

I do a fair bit of audio stuff on my office PC, and very rarely do I bother hooking up one of my dedicated audio interfaces. Mostly just use the on board sound. Works fine.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:16 AM   #19
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asio 4 all as an earlier post suggested should suffice !
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:25 AM   #20
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Asio4all doesn't report converter latency or any other buffers beyond the asio buffer size, so you can't just go by the figure stated in the top right corner of reaper. You actually have to use a round trip latency testing utility to find out what your latency really is.
Yes, it's misleading a ton. Installed to a device with a big inherent latency and you can be off by dozens of ms, I did it with Line 6 GX to check if it helps with mediocre native ASIO (15 or 18ms lowest rtl I think) and while ASIO4ALL reported values were awesome, measured were actually worse than native.

Not gonna watch some rambling long youtube video now (hate that habit of stretching the simple things to feature length) but if this guy's advertising those values as real some people might find their recordings a bit off the click.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:49 AM   #21
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I don't think he's really advertising those values. They're just there.
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:57 AM   #22
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Well, you can basically multiply that by 4 to get your latency at 44.1Khz at the same buffer size. Unless you want to use 4 times as much cpu running at 192k all the time to achieve that latency figure. We're also assuming that the drivers are reporting the latency accurately in the first place. The chances of this figure being accurate are better with Roland than Behringer, but until you actually test you never know for sure.

The unit may be capable of running at smaller buffer sizes to keep the latency down at lower sample rates, but there is no way of knowing from that video.
At 44.1kHz, the buffer is fixed at 80 samples/channel instead of 144 samples/channel@192 kHz, and the reported latency around 3.2ms/3.2ms if I recall well.
Quote:
Asio4all doesn't report converter latency or any other buffers beyond the asio buffer size, so you can't just go by the figure stated in the top right corner of reaper. You actually have to use a round trip latency testing utility to find out what your latency really is.

Whats more, as we can see from the testing by chucky5p that I posted, the actual official behringer drivers understate the latency by 3ms.

A combined one and a half hours of video about the interfaces, and still not one loopback audio fidelity or round trip latency test in sight!
Yes, this video was laborious and really lacked that RMAA round trip test.
At least Roland advertises specs on their website:
https://www.roland.com/us/products/r...pecifications/
Quote:
Residual Noise LevelINPUT (1L, 2R) --> OUTPUT (1L, 2R): -94 dBu typ. (SENS 1L, SENS 2R knobs: min., input terminated with 600 ohms, IHF-A, typ.)

Dynamic RangeAD block INPUT (1L, 2R) jacks: 104 dB typ. (SENS 1L, SENS 2R knobs: min.)
DA block OUTPUT (1L, 2R) jacks: 109 dB typ.
If it's anywhere near as good as they say, it is pretty good.

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Old 11-08-2017, 11:40 AM   #23
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I rather doubt that Roland would rely on the usual crap generic USB audio drivers, either. You could be onto something there.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:47 AM   #24
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I rather doubt that Roland would rely on the usual crap generic USB audio drivers, either. You could be onto something there.
IIRC Roland is not so good at longevity where drivers and support is concerned. Happy to be proven wrong though. I spent a couple hours here last year helping someone hack an installer that was coded to not install on later OSes but cannot remember if that was Roland but I swear I thought it was.

My default answer is almost always RME - buy once, cry once.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:54 AM   #25
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IIRC Roland is not so good at longevity where drivers and support is concerned. Happy to be proven wrong though. I spent a couple hours here last year helping someone hack an installer that was coded to not install on later OSes but cannot remember if that was Roland but I swear I thought it was.

My default answer is almost always RME - buy once, cry once.
Yes but RME is too expensive for amateur home studios.
I've read only good things of the Roland drivers (I don't own one, but when I was looking for a card, I read a lot online).
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Glennbo View Post
I had one of these ultra cheep Behringer UCA202 interfaces,

https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UCA.../dp/B000KW2YEI

that I used with a netbook and Reaper to record my band live. When I quit playing live, I gave it to my son, who still uses it with a nice 88 key hammer action keyboard to play sampled piano in Reaper on his desktop machine.
Pretty much exactly what my kid wants to do: piano to REAPER. Sounds like I don't need to spend a ton.
I may keep using the ASIO4ALL unless he notices anything.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:17 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by lolilol1975 View Post
Yes but RME is too expensive for amateur home studios.

I've read only good things of the Roland drivers (I don't own one, but when I was looking for a card, I read a lot online).
That's sort of what "buy once, cry once" means. AKA one often spends the price or more of an RME Babyface (just as an example), buying various devices over the course of 10 years, where with an RME you are still using the same device with updated drivers and support. I mention them mostly because I have RME and the plus side that they write their own custom drivers which is far better than what many do which is sort of put an outsourced device together and hope class compliant handles it. IOW, beware of companies that aren't sound card companies at the core.

I'm fairly certain Roland is more proprietary and doesn't tend to support hardware for that long (can't look up the old thread right now) - though I do like them from a non-soundcard perspective (I trained at their LA facility years ago, great company). Don't get me wrong, I get the expense thing, I've been there but I always shy away from anyone who isn't proud of supporting their hardware for long periods of time even after the "new" model comes out.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:47 AM   #28
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So many reliable years with Focusrite ( 2x _ Saffire Pro14) and US telephone support. Looking forward now __ would be hard (given RME price point) to not go with Focusrite Clarett line.

Never closed-minded and open to solid reasons to reconsider.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:42 AM   #29
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I can't speak for the Rubix, but my roland studio capture is ridiculously stable on windows 10. Was stable on 7 and 8 as well.
It sounds great, good preamps and plenty of routing/monitoring options. I can't comment on whether they'll support the unit in a decade, but after dealing with avid (it replaced a 003 rack) their drivers are a godsend. Mind you, I don't know anyone who has any issues with their RME stuff.

Steve

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Old 11-09-2017, 02:15 PM   #30
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I have an issue with my elderly RME 9652 HDSP pci card.

It wont die! Bought the damn thing used years and years ago, too.

My biggest problem is likely to be finding a mobo for my next computer build that still has a pci slot!



P.S. I bought the original Babyface for my travelling laptop rig but it now spends more time on my Mac Mini, where it also behaves perfectly.
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:09 PM   #31
LCipher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
I have an issue with my elderly RME 9652 HDSP pci card.
It wont die!
Same here - I've got the RME 9632 - flawless. PCI works great and it's an i7 so should last awhile, haven't maxed it out yet!
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Old 11-11-2017, 03:23 AM   #32
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Yep - built my 17 quad 4770 non-K box several years ago. Only upgrades so far were going from 8 to 16gb of ram & so far I havent used more than about 75% of that. cpu use is tiny even when I am piling on the VSTis.
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Old 11-11-2017, 12:59 PM   #33
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I got the Rubix 22 almost two months ago when I was looking for a (second) compact unit with Hi-Z input and MIDI-I/O.
The Rubix is mainly connected to my MacBook (still on 10.10.5) and rock solid so far on both macOS and Windows 10 (when I tested the unit there).

As a side note: Installing drivers for the Rubix is only necessary on Windows.

In general, I'd say for the price and its features the Rubix 22 is a pretty solid unit.


My other audio interface (mainly connected to the Desktop) is the NI Komplete Audio 6 which is up and running without any problems since 2011 - on both Windows (7 and 10) and macOS.
Unfortunately this one won't die either (in order to be most likely replaced by a RME)

Last edited by solger; 11-11-2017 at 01:18 PM.
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